Continuing with our wee break from the Olympics to do a bit of local sightseeing, today I'm taking you on a trip out of London. We're going to York. Catch a train from Kings Cross station and within two and a half hours you will be in the ancient and beautiful city of York.
York's history began with the Romans who arrived in 71AD and formed the city of Eboracum. The city was very desirable even back then, as testified by the various invasions over the following centuries. The Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings and the Normans, each of the invaders bringing their own traditions and cultures, making York the unique city it is today.
The city is dominated by the Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe. Built between 1291 and 1350 it replaced the original Norman Cathedral that burnt down. The Archbishop of York holds the second highest position in the Church f England (since the time of Henry VIII when C of E was established the order has always been the ruling Monarch, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York).
There are simply loads of important people buried here, plus there is a resident ghost, supposedly an organist who fell to his death while cleaning the organ valves.
Eating and shopping are always high on my list wherever I visit. Last year York was voted the 5th best place in Europe for gourmet food and wine - a foodies paradise. As for shopping, these are the kind of stores you get lost in for hours. I loved the street called "the Shambles". Back in medieval times it was a street of butcher shops. The narrowness of the street and the medieval houses that get larger as they get higher (in a bid to avoid 'ground' taxes) meant that these streets were rather shady and thus popular with the butchers. Imagine though all those carcasses hanging in the outdoors. Yes, flies and rats come to mind. Stay with that image. The locals of the time did. Hence why when they saw anything unpleasant they'd say "yuk, its a shambles".
You can always rely on me to find you a gem that is not in the brochure. Eight hundred years ago York elected their first Lord Mayor. So it's party time now to commemorate. One of the celebrations is the festival of the rivers which was to take place in July, however due to the unusually wet weather this festival was postponed. But as we now have a good summer again the festival will now take place on 26 August. I've already given you enough good reasons to go. Now is the perfect time.
If you need any help with your stay in York just go to the national trust Visit England site.